Getting near to one’s retirement date tends to put you in a reflective mood. It does feel a bit strange to be “looking in the rear-view mirror” at my career instead of looking forward.
But it is also satisfying to do so with a feeling of satisfaction. A great deal of that satisfaction comes from the realization that, along the way, I’ve had the privilege of working with a great number of wonderful people who have devoted themselves to making other peoples’ lives better through the promise of a well-grounded and well-rounded education.
I am grateful to all of you for allowing me to have the honor of being part of that and helping you with that noble cause. What could be better than preparing students to make their mark on the world? It just doesn’t get any better than that!
The spirit of that quest is perhaps best captured, as an allegory, in one of my favorite John Denver songs titled “The Eagle and the Hawk.” I referenced these lyrics in my May commencement address:
I am the eagle
I live in high country
In rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky
I am the hawk and there’s blood on my feathers
But time is still turning they soon will be dry
And all of those who see me, all who believe in me
Share in the freedom I feel when I fly
Come dance with the west wind and touch on the mountain tops
Sail over the canyons and up to the stars
And reach for the heavens and hope for the future
And all that we can be and not what we are
Songwriters: John Denver / Mike Taylor
You are making eagles and hawks. Your work is amazing, extremely important and is changing the world.
Thank you for letting me be part of that.